Double Feature

July 2015 - We're in the heart of the summer blockbuster season which, by some accounts, actually started in April! This month returns two familiar franchises to the big screen with the release of Minions and Terminator: Genisys. And yes, he's back, too. Of course, sequels and reboots are nothing new to summertime at the movies.

Think back to May 1992, when Riggs and Murtaugh entertained us for a third time with the R-rated Lethal Weapon 3. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover reprise their roles as LAPD sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. They're joined by Joe Pesci and Rene Russo as they stumble across an investigation into an arms-dealing former cop.

The film opens with Murtaugh (Glover) about one week from retirement. It appears that week could be spent walking the beat after he and Riggs (Gibson) are busted down to patrol cops after literally blowing an incident involving a bomb.

While busting a man for jaywalking, Riggs notices suspicious activity involving an armored car. It leads to a dramatic chase and, eventually, an arrest. The case ties in to an ongoing Internal Affairs investigation. Riggs and Murtaugh talk their way back into detective status and join IA officer Lorna Cole (Russo) to bring down a dirty ex-cop.

Overall review: Liked it. It's what you’d expect from the Lethal Weapon franchise – wise-cracking cops, a little romance and lots of action. You know they'll catch the bad guys in the end, and it's fun to watch them get there.

In May 2009, J.J. Abrams, the man behind the hit TV shows Alias and Lost, leapt onto the big screen with a bold reboot of Gene Roddenberry's classic sci-fi series, Star Trek. In this PG-13 film, Chris Pine is a young James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto (of Heroes) is young Spock, and Zoe Saldana is young Uhura. Look for Ben Cross and Winona Ryder as Spock's parents. And, Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as Spock.

You could call this film "Star Trek: The Younger Generation." Abrams shows us how Kirk and company came to be on board the Enterprise and how they came to be the crack crew we know and love. The plot is a little hard to follow but, basically, it centers on a renegade Romulan miner named Nero, who blames Spock for the destruction of his home planet. The miner is now determined to get revenge on Spock and on the Federation by destroying planets near and dear to their hearts.

To counter this threat, the Federation rushes its newest starship, Enterprise, into service. Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) is at the helm with Spock, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov on board. Kirk is not part of the crew, but Dr. McCoy sneaks him onto the ship, and young Kirk quickly proves his worth and proves that he belongs in the captain's chair.

Overall review: Liked it. This fast-paced film has more than enough action and humor to overcome the convoluted plot. The actors are well-cast as younger versions of their iconic selves, but they also manage to take their characters in new, unexpected directions. This was one wild ride.